Any Secondary Teachers that can give me a few pointers please?

(34 Posts)
cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 19:45:30


Just have a few questions really. I am just starting out with uni, but I am 99% sure that it is secondary age children that I would like to teach. I seem to be able to find information about primary school teacher however, there doesn't seem to be that much re getting into secondary school teaching.

I have been given the impression that I would need to teach/or be able to teach two subjects. Is this correct? If so do you have any idea whether this would mean having to do two degrees' or just a brief overview of another subject. I was also told that I may be limited in the hours I could teach within a secondary school, however when I asked for more information, they had no more information to offer.

If you have any help or guidance you could offer, I would be extremely grateful.


What degree are you doing?

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:03:30

Psychology degree. I am prepared to teach any age group but my personal preference would be secondary school

Cynderella Sun 03-Nov-13 20:04:28

Well, i teach English and so no problem filling my timetable. In a small school, teachers of subjects like Music or Drama may have another subject on their timetable. If you want to teach something like Media Studies or Sociology that's often KS4/5 only, there may not be enough of your subject for a full timetable. DT and MFL teachers often teach their specialism such as Food or Spanish and then have something else too.

You'd do a PGCE or equivalent in your degree subject but that qualifies you to teach any subject. So you could train to teach History but apply for jobs in other subjects. Most schools choose people qualified in their subject but it's possible to move into another once you've got a job. In the same way, if you are qualified to teach one subject but have spaces on your timetable, you could be asked (or told!) to teach something else too. If you are going to teach a subject where you might not have a full timetable, some experience in another subject (ask in your placement schools) might give you the edge in interviews.

I think you'd need another subject too then tbh, as it's not a GCSE subject.

What do you want to teach? In most schools psychology is A level only and it would be unusual to find a purely psychology teacher. I think you would struggle to train to teach psychology - you might need to train to teach another subject.

Cross posts!

I'm an RE specialist but I also teach a few periods of ks3 geography and history

Cynderella Sun 03-Nov-13 20:06:56

Ah, Psychology. Well, not much of that at GCSE in some schools (none in ours) and possibly only one or two A' Level groups. In a large school with a big sixth form, you might be OK, but yes, in most schools, you would be part-time. Could you teach lower school Science? Think about your degree content and what you might like to teach.

Cynderella Sun 03-Nov-13 20:08:41

Looking again at your OP - just starting out. If you want to teach in a secondary school , Psychology isn't a good degree!

TheFallenMadonna Sun 03-Nov-13 20:10:51

IME psychologists teach Maths, Science or Sociology as well. The ones that teach Sociology and Psychology teach part time or FE. I would be wary about someone teaching Science unless they did a lot of Science in their degree.

I teach Science and Psychology. I did a second degree in Psychology though, after I'd already been teaching Science. The world and his wife are crying out for Maths teachers, so if you can bear it...

NorthernShores Sun 03-Nov-13 20:11:25

Is there a PGCE in just psychology? I think there used to be a social science one so you could teach Sociology as well, but I'm not sure there would be as many jobs as it would be purely sixth form.

Would you like to teach 11-16 as well? What subjects? You might get onto a science PGCE but then might struggle with jobs without a pure science subject, I'm not sure of the job market? Have you researched it?

I was initally an RS teacher, and did and RS PGCE having taught 11-18. I then did a pysch degree with the OU too (I thought it was fab!) and intended to retrain but now am thinking of teaching psych at 6th form. The jobs are usually part time but that would suit me right now.

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:11:36

Um.......... what if I do a Major Psychology, minor biology degree? Do you think that may be a better option?

Remus - this is what I am confused about as I was advised that Psychology was now going to be a GCSE option, however it seems to have been a bit of a flop.

With regards to being told/asked to teach another subject, is it just a case of your teaching yourself?

Sorry for so many questions, I really have had no careers advice or anything and I will admit I am a bit clueless

ninah Sun 03-Nov-13 20:13:05

I believe you need a psychology degree to be an ed psych, is that right? I've always thought that would be a fascinating job.

Have you just started your degree? The psychology teachers I know also teach Science - I think they did their PGCE in one of the science subjects.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 03-Nov-13 20:14:43

There is a GCSE Psychology, but it isn't offered everywhere, and I don;'t think the new performance measures will increase its uptake. A minor in Biology won't be that much more use, as there is the giving away of Biology teachers too TBH. Your best bet might be Maths I think.

I was a Head of Science and now line manage Maths BTW!

noblegiraffe Sun 03-Nov-13 20:15:34

If you want to teach psychology, then yes, you may find your timetable filled up with other subjects, not necessarily of your choice but where they need someone to fill in the timetable. Probably humanities subjects.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 03-Nov-13 20:16:01

And your PGCE would be in your other subject (Maths/Science), not in Psychology.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Sun 03-Nov-13 20:19:02

Your A levels would give a good indicator of possible subjects you could teach. Second subjects are often based on those

Spider7 Sun 03-Nov-13 20:19:52

Unless its changed you do not need to do your pgcein the subject of your degree. On my course we had people with an re, science, history & I think a philosophy degree taking the English PGCE course. When I was teaching there were times I was teaching five subjects! Kept things interesting!

Cynderella Sun 03-Nov-13 20:19:53

I don't know many Psychology teachers but those I do know have Science degrees. If you had some Biology in your degree, that could make you useful to take on some lower school Science. However, looking ahead, I would be worried about actually qualifying to teach in Secondary. You need to check this out.

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:20:43

I would love to do maths, but as much as I enjoy it I really am just not very good at it unfortunately

Religious studies was a subject which I was initially going to look at doing a degree in but I caught the psychology bug. It wouldn't be something that I would rule out though to be honest, I feel the same about biology.

Have just read my OP, I am going to uni (hopefully) sept next year and have chosen the following degrees for my options

Psychology/Criminal Justice Studies

Thank you for your advice so far. It has been a lot more useful than the half hearted attempts by my college. I just really don't want to make bad choices now - I am studying as a mature student - and waste time, then have to gain more qualifications, because I went down the wrong track, if that makes sense

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:26:45

I am going to go away and do a lot more research into this now. You have all given me a lot to think about and consider.

Thank You!

magichamster Sun 03-Nov-13 20:26:48

You could try contacting a college/university that does a pgce and seeing what they suggest. I'm not sure how in demand psychology teachers are- my ds has just started high school and it's not offered as a subject there.

NorthernShores Sun 03-Nov-13 20:28:37

What else might you do career wise? You really do need just psych if you want BPS recognition (ie if there is any chance you might want to be a psychologist in the future).

Rs is more of a mainstream subject teaching wise - and you might get onto an RS pgce with psychology if you have an A level in it, however in terms of an actual job you do end up teaching the whole school!

Cynderella Sun 03-Nov-13 20:30:45

If you want to teach secondary, think what you would like to teach across Years 7-13. Then plan backwards.

blueemerald Sun 03-Nov-13 20:32:51

I would really try to go as 'core curriculum' as you can. I'm an English NQT and I would estimate around half of my old course-mates are teaching English and/or Media Studies and/or Drama. Some are even teaching Year 7 History/Geography.

I know one NQT (RE) who is teaching English (Year 7), RE (a few year groups), Geography (year 7 and 8), Philosophy (Year 12/13) and something else..... possibly Psychology or Sociology (Year 12/13).

If you're doing a psychology BSc that will give you a lot more options than Psychology BA.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 03-Nov-13 20:33:55

I agree that what you need to do really is check that the degree you do is accredited by the BPS to keep your Psychology doors open.

TheFallenMadonna Sun 03-Nov-13 20:36:29

Unless you are absolutely sure you want to teach, in which case psych is not the best degree to choose.

I love teaching psychology, but it is very much an additional subject for me. The most I have ever taught was 8 hours a week.

Fuzzysnout Sun 03-Nov-13 20:37:40

Sociology is the most usual second subject with psychology but both are mainly sixth form. Health and social care is commonly taught by these teachers, again mainly sixth form (& may not last with Gove's) changes but you can easily learn to teach this on teaching practice without any special degree although the biology is helpful.

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:38:11

I know a few primary school teachers that had their Psychology degree, did their PGCE went straight to teaching year 1 &3. I personally would prefer working with the older kids, but not completely against primary school or FE either.

I am attending an open day at the uni in a week so I will track down the PGCE admissions/teachers and grill them.

cantthinkofanythingwitty Sun 03-Nov-13 20:48:15

I have made sure that I will have BPS accreditation, just in case I have a complete change of heart about teaching.

I am pretty sure that teaching is what I want to do, I definitely want to working within an educational setting. I am in the process of trying to secure some voluntary work within both a secondary school and a primary/junior school to help me gain a bit of an in sight to both areas, I have a few years until i reach the point of teaching so I have plenty of time to see which age group terrifies me the most

noblegiraffe Sun 03-Nov-13 20:51:04

Primary is highly competitive and you need to be aware that there may not be a job for you at the end of it all.

If you want to go into teaching and want a pick of jobs, physics, maths, computing, languages, chemistry are where there are shortages. Other secondary subjects that get extra money to train are English, history, biology, geography, music, and design and technology.

Kayakinggirl86 Sun 03-Nov-13 21:34:17

I did I Pgce in humanities (geography, history,RE, citizenship, and phse) there were a few people on my course who had done psychology degree.
I know the psychology teacher at my current school (she also is forced to teach history and re to fill time table) did a Pgce in citizenship. Once you have qts you can (be forced in to) teaching what ever you feel confident in.
I teach English history after doing Scottish archeology at university!

Ilovepsychology Sun 03-Nov-13 21:43:25

I gained a psychology degree. I have completed a psychology PGCE, the course has only been in existence 5/6 years I think. I work in a secondary school and teach full time. Only teaching psychology. I have done some sociology in the past but now just teach psychology. Some of my friends are also full time psychology teachers others also teach sociology or health and social care. So two degrees are not necessary, I was told you need an A level in the subject to be able to teach it but I'm not 100% sure about that.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now